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Khaima – Owing to the Influence

Khaima
Owing to the Influence
by Gary Hernandez at 27 November 2020, 12:16 PM

In 2016 the German Prog sextet, KHAIMA, released their self-titled EP. Some four years and eight months later on October 30, 2020 the band issued their debut full-length album, “Owing To The Influence.” Hailing from Saarbrücken, Germany the band was founded in 2013. If you’re counting, that’s 14 tracks over seven years, or a little less that one minute per month for 84 months. And if you have that calculated out to the second or third decimal place in your mind, then this band is right up your alley. Reading their press release is like taking a crash course in music theory.

The band has a 90’s Progressive vibe with a KING CRIMSON twist (let’s say the “Indiscipline” era). You know how some music makes a good backdrop to doing stuff like driving fast (Stoner metal), staring into the abyss (Black metal), invoking the Older Ones (Doom)? This album pairs well with quantum physics and coding. Just listening to it made me feel smarter. On the downside, like most Prog you kind of feel obligated to appreciate it because it sounds so complex. Or is that just me? Prog is like the kale of the metal scene — It’s supposed to be good for you, but it can be hard to digest and sometimes you just want a pizza and some Cheetos. But I digress.

I do like this album. Some tracks are better than others, of course . . . Let me rephrase that: All the tracks are better than the sixth track, “La Hirak.” Of those remaining, you can rank them in order of heaviness, sophistication, or tripiness. Whatever turns you on. My favorite tracks are “Blowback,” “Partnership,” “Parasomnia,” and “Extrapolation.” Standout performances are Jo Rauber, who plays the bass like a lead instrument instead of buried in the background, and Toufik Bougherara with his incredibly versatile styling on guitar. The others are excellent as well, from Sven Hill’s clean, fluid vocals to Markus Scherer’s precision work on the kit to Andreas Becker’s ambient layering on the keyboards.

Lyrically, I have no idea. I didn’t get a lyrics sheet and I have the patience of a two-year old and the hearing of a ninety-year old. Blame it on too much caffeine and too many concerts. Btw, I highly recommend you listen to this album on your best sound system to really appreciate the nuances. It’s simply too well-produced to waste on a cellphone.

If you listened to KHAIMA’s 2016 EP, they lost some of their jazz bias and mellowness on “Owing To The Influence” and switched it out for a deeper and heavier sound balanced with a shot or two of grit. This album places the band on a firm trajectory which I hope leads them into even heavier and darker stuff in the future. For now, though, this is a solid offering.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
  1. Blowback
  2. Partisanship
  3. Assimilation
  4. Parasomnia
  5. The Fox And The Grapes
  6. Le Hirak
  7. Collidoscope
  8. Extrapolation
  9. Sulpiride
Lineup:
Sven Hill – Vocals
Toufik Bougherara – Guitar
Jo Rauber – Bass
Andreas Becker – Keyboard
Markus Scherer – Drums
Record Label: Barhill Records
     


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